September 13, 2012 | By Dr. Tsegaye Ararssa

We have received reports from various cities and towns of Oromia this morning. The reports indicate that the regime is taking measures to"punish" businesses in Oromia for taking part in the boycott last week. In towns such as Naqamt and Ambo, it's reported that the regime is seeking to collect a "penalty" of ETB 10,000 on every Bajaj service that was not in operation last week, including those who were not working for personal reasons.
This is illegal.
Beyond and above being a plunder enforced through state apparatus, this is an extension of the regime's terrorist practices to the economic sphere. It's a politically motivated vindictive act inflicted on our people merely because they exercised their right to take part in the boycot.

As far as the law is concerned, every trader or business is within her/his right to decide on when to operate and when not to. In addition, every trader and/or business as an individual is within her/his/its right to resist an unfair market practice and an oppressive political system through boycott and other forms of civil resistance. Any penalty, properly so called, to be imposed on illegal trade practices, if any, must be imposed in accordance with a pre-existing law that specifies the wrong act, the penalty, and the process of sanctioning the penalty. Anything other than the accepted standards and practices of the trade/business law is illegal. The attempt by the regime to force payment from our business people is nothing but extortion and is, as such, criminal.
Consequently, we call upon the regime to immediately stop this act of extortion. In particular, we call upon the regime:
1. Recant this extortionist measure imposed as a "penalty".
2.Stop all sorts of harassment of the people including traders and business people.
3. In the event that the regime ccontinues with its act of extortion, we like to inform everyone that our business people will be forced to continue the boycott that started last week.
4. In addition, the #Oromoprotests shall call a nation-wide strike which shall be effective within two days.
In the meantime, we would like to call on our people to continue to be watchful of the activities of the regime as usual even as they try to start normal trade activities as of today. They shall NOT PAY ANY "PENALTY" the regime agents demand. If the regime forces them to pay, let them immediately close their businesses and enhance the struggle through boycott and other measures as will be announced in the days to come.
The people's voice should be heard.
The resistance shall continue.
People shall triumph!
Justice shall prevail.

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